tv The Dylan Ratigan Show MSNBC October 24, 2011 4:00pm-5:00pm EDT
the aquistive tunnel." and that's the truth. thank you very much for watching. dylan's here and ready to take us forward. >> thank you very much. and happy monday, martin. >> thank you. did you have a good weekend? >> it was very relaxing and i was able to enjoy myself. and yourself? >> i heard george benson on friday night. 68 years old, new york city, and he was fabulous. >> and what about your own recordings, how's that going these days? >> i'm not doing anything at the moment. i'll let you know. >> would you let me play with you? i do alternative percussion. >> let's move on. i can hear someone's laughing with you. i think we need to move on. >> fine. i'm just saying. i'll play with you. but in the meantime, we should do a tv show, which begins now. well, good afternoon to you. the big story today is the new
middle east. i am dylan ratigan. happy monday to you. we start the week with a mideast that is quite simply vastly different today than it was even just a week ago. we talk about the rate of change and everything we deal, i can't think of a place that is bearing that out more apparently than this region. first, today's developing story, frantic searches continue in turkey after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake. more than 270 dead, hundreds hurt. turkey, of course, a major power player in the region, and there is some concern the setback will have ramifications on the region's political structure. although, ultimately, turkey continues really to hold its position as the nation that could keep iran in check or at least broker in that cold war between iran and saudi arabia. now, that relationship, unfortunately, between turkey and iran, may be starting to deteriorate. first, and this is important, turkey has thrown its support behind the growing opposition,
the resistance, if you will, in syria. and syria is one of iran's closest allies. which then makes iran wonder what turkey's doing. the u.n. says syrian president assad has killed 3,000 of his own people since the march uprising began. we all know those numbers are difficult to get to begin with, but the point really is you're dealing with a man who is murdering his own people. tensions in syria so tight, the u.s. just pulled our ambassador out, this after weeks of harassment by the assad government. turkey, meanwhile, jockeying with iran for influence in iraq, whether as a power vacuum. just yesterday, the u.s. warned iran that just because u.s. troops are coming home does not mean that the u.s. does not intend a strong presence in that area. >> iran would be badly miscalculated if they did not look at the entire region and
all of our presence in many countries in the region, both in bases, in training, with nato allies, like turkey. >> well, the u.s. withdrawal along with the arab spring have created power vacuums in egypt, where the military remains in control, and of course, most recently, libya. it is, in fact, the biggest political change of the past week, with the death of colonel gadhafi, there is now talk, or at least fear and speculation, surrounding the use of sharia law as the basis for a new government there. the fact is, i suspect nobody knows what's going to happen, but there is concern about tribal factions and outside influences competing for power in the form of government in every one of those nations. and we start with roya, author of "assassins of the turquoise
palace." roya, i want to begin with you. put in context how different the power dynamic right now in the middle east is, with the vacuums, with the variables that we're talking about, compared to levels of either stability or instability in the region over the past 20 years? >> well, certain things have remained the same. in other words, you formulated it beautifully at the top of the show, saying that there's somewhat of a cold war at work here, between iran and saudi arabia, and this has been going on since the rise of hue maney to power in 1979. but with the revolutions that have unfolded in tunisia and libya, the landscape is changing, and iran and saudi arabia are inching closer and closer to each other in a confrontation for leadership in the region. it's shiite versus sunni.
but it's also democracy versus tyranny. which would be -- which would make the region very interestingly to watch. >> but interestingly, matt, democracy versus tyranny is not so much iran versus saudi arabia or libya or anybody else, it is the people of every one of those nations in jetta, in riyadh, in syria, against the perceived, and i would agree with that perception, corrupt government in every last one of those nations. where do you see the power dynamic? in other words, how much of the power is coming from the resistance in the arab spring and how much of it is still really in the hands of kingdoms and the kings and their battle with each other for power. whether it's iran, saudi arabia, or anybody else? >> well, you know, a year ago, if any of us -- if the three of us had this conversation about this map, what it looks like now, we would have said whoever made this map was crazy. whoever had -- was predicting
these events was nuts. maybe in one place, but not in so many of these places. you know, not to shoot your map, dylan, but you left off tunisia, where they had their elections there over the weekend. >> shoot away. you are correct. >> what a fantastic story that's happening there. other places, not so fantastic, right? the united states has its presence in bahrain. we've got our fifth fleet there. the bahraini government pretty viciously suppressed the arab spring that occurred there. but when you get back to your question, dylan, about where do the dynamics lay, who has the power? right now i think these regimes in iran, in saudi arabia, they're sweating us. you know, you just had a small event in saudi arabia a few weeks ago, but it was pretty powerful in how it occurred in terms of our television sets of a few women who decided to get in their cars and drive to flaunt or go against those saudi laws, against women drivers.
so i think those regimes are sweating the people right now. and getting to iran, i think the most important thing we can do with iran is not military action. not to jump ahead in the section, but not military action, but to empower those people, provide more communications support, provide more of a way for people to organize and resist, and push people away from the government, rather than military action, which would drive people toward the government. >> and to that end, if you wouldn't mind,oya, what is your assessment to the degree to which you believe there's a credible threat to the saudi government in their own country, at least in their political decision making right now, if not in power. obviously in iran. and then, really, the center room right now, has to be syria. i mean, if there was one palace that you wanted to be inside of, to find out just how desperate and how brutal that leadership is intending to be, that would clearly be the place. >> absolutely. and we should also take into consideration that syrian
activists have consistently been saying over the past few months that they know -- they're aware of the presence of iranian revolutionary guards inside their country. not only were they brutal in and of themselves, but they're also receiving the best reinforcements from inside iran, from people who successfully put out the fire in 2009, you know, in tehran and other parts of iran. i think, you know, it's a matter of whether the regimes want to step down gracefully and come to terms with the fact that the moment, the moment for them has come for the people to embrace democracy and change. and gracefully step down, or whether they're going to do it gadhafi style and find the leadership finding themselves in tunnels and ditches. and i think there's a better way to step down and go and leave a graceful mark on history, rather than have to stoop so low.
>> it's interesting, matt, one of the big reasons, obviously, this subject warrants being the lead on a national cable television show or gets as much ink as it does in the american media, in general, is obviously our relationship with the energy assets in the middle east. not to indulge myself, but one of my favorite headlines of anything we've written so far on "the huffington post" is how did our oil get underneath their sand? and you do have to wonder at what point the american people will start to apply more pressure on our own government to stop conducting foreign and industrial and military policy based on securing fossil fuel assets in the middle east. >> yeah. absolutely, dylan. that's a great point. you wonder with what's happening with occupy wall street, how much of that, how many people are there now because of what they saw occur over the last year, in the middle east, realizing that we need change here at home.
i know you guys have been talking about it all day on msnbc. 25% of americans' homes are -- or homeowners are underwater right now. we've got a lot to fix here. and that's why i was very pleased with president obama when he spoke about the decision not to keep troops in iraq. he made that comment at the end of his speech that we have a lot to fix here. one of those things -- and that's what's great about this new middle east, this idea that the map is different. is that gives us a chance, that gives the united states a chance to do several things, to change our policy, not just with our energy acquisition strategy -- you know, our strategy that's dependent upon energy coming out of the gulf area, coming out of the broader middle east, but also in terms of how do we actually build a foreign policy now that best reflects our core values and our core beliefs? how do we actually get that foreign policy that, you know, henry kissinger spoke about that combines realism and diplomacy? so this is a tremendous
opportunity for the united states in its foreign policy and along a variety of tracks to take advantage of. >> it's a high wire act, to say the least. roya, congratulations on the book. >> thank you. >> "assassins of the turquoise palace," fun title, too, assassins always get people to open the book, and then it's the book. all the best with this. matt, it's been too long, hope to talk to you again soon. coming up here on "the d.r. show," will the president's new housing plan keep you in your new house or your house or simply keep this president in the white house? plus, the end of wikileaks, whether the secret-spilling site could soon go dark. and worm, the best-selling author of "blackhawk down" joins us to reveal details of the v s
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right now the president in las vegas. he's reviewing his latest slogan. you remember yes, we can, and pass this bill, and now we hear, we can't wait. get used to hearing it. the kickoff includes rolling out programs for homeowners and college graduates that are drowning in debt. two groups of americans who have been saying for three years we can't wait. our monday mega panel and msnbc contributor, imogen lloyd webber, the "washington examiner's" tim carney, and sim
seder, host of "the majority reports." pleasure to see the three of you. it's clear that obama and his messaging is trying to go at least, in my opinion, to where the problems are. student debt, job creation, the rhetoric is there. the policies tend to come up crazy short. the housing, you know, the jobs plan, we need 30 million, you get a couple million. now you've got this housing plan, and everybody's always going to say, oh, you can -- how do you move from doing sort of incremental, verbal stuff, where in this case 80% of the housing market is not always included in the plan. it doesn't address the underlying issues of the banking system, it's just sort of a way to relieve a little of the short-term pain, it's another kick the can move, effectively. is that unfair? >> i think to a certain extent, it's a little bit unfair. i would have liked him to have made this turn about two years and i would have liked to see him do it rhetorically, but to
the extent he can do anything now, he can only do it by executive order. so there's not a lot that he can do beyond that. and yes, i actually think this is going to help a little bit, not a lot. and i don't appreciate the part about the reps and warranties that i've been reading that might be involved in this, where the chain of title sort of gets washed away when you refi your mortgage. but that said, every little bit helps, but maybe not enough. >> what do you think about this? >> remember, he had a few months where there was a democratic supermajority in the senate and a majority in the house. there's lots of things he didn't pass then. and then the elections came in. what was that? that was saying, we think obama care went too far. >> maybe they were -- we don't know, maybe they were saying -- >> but the point is, now he's decided to go around the legislative process. it's great timing. i have a friend who just wrote a book called "democracy denied" this has all about how obama is trying to go and say -- >> he's doing what he has -- >> -- from the white house. >> he's doing what he has the ability to do as the executive.
>> and lots of presidents have used -- >> of course, sure. but obama was supposed to be the guy who was supposed toll restore our trust. >> call me cynical, but isn't this all about framing the argument for the next -- he's setting it all up for the do-nothing congress for the truman re-election strategy. i read an interesting study the other day. apparently 41% of the time the democrats in congress under george w. bush voted with him. now in congress, republicans have voted with him about 5% of the time. obama has been dealing with a tricky time in congress. it will be interesting to see how that impacts the democratic nominee next year. >> speaking of tricky situations, as much publicity as there was, imogen, and as much fanfare around wikileaks, it appears our friends behind all the famous cables are going broke. >> i can't help talking about assange without being freslight freaked out. i have nightmares after watching "60 minutes."
it's interesting that governments tried to the take wikileaks down. and it comes down to the money. american financial institutions pulled the plug on them being able to raise money, that's the moment that wikileaks runs into trouble. >> it's not just that the money has run out, the money has no way to get there. they have been cut off by corporations that for whatever reason don't want to offer their services to them. and i think it's a sad day, frankly, for open information. how many stories have we talked about, just on this show alone, that came from wikileaks cables and what not, that, again, are now going to be submerged because the corporations have been able to close them down. >> to me, the funny thing is, it didn't take government coming and forcing corporations, forcing the banks and the credit card processors to crack down on them as much as it took the fact that these businesses are so dependent on government favor, that they're willing to go ahead of the curve. it's like google complying with china and that sort of thing. >> that's what makes it interesting. the big distinction, it seems, with the political debate in this country, whether it is the
giant government that is causing all the breach of unfairness and disruption in our society, or whether it is the giant corporations that are causing the disruption. and it's -- >> a false one. >> but what is interesting is that the government, if you want to look at it as a power litmus test, to your point, the government's desire to shut down wikileaks was impotent, but the corporations' desire to shut down wikileaks was more potent. which gives you an interesting sort of anecdotal assessment of the power dynamics. >> but i think it was part political pressure, why they wanted to do -- >> okay, well -- >> but also, it's public opinion. because fundamentally, assange is a very controversial figure. i mean, there are all those things going on in sweden, with all those allegations -- >> but there's not shortage of people that want to give him money. >> right. >> i mean, there's no shortage of people that want to -- >> but those companies, those companies put that blockade in place in part because of public opinion, because, supposedly, they're putting american troops in danger. >> absolutely not. absolutely not. >> that was the feeling i was getting from the uk. >> if public opinion is the real
reason, then you open up the processes in which they can get money and let the public decide -- >> but let's even go up to -- >> that's a free market argument, by the way, but go on. >> so let's go up to 60,000 feet, though. the fact of the matter is, there's a ton of information that exists and there's a uni unifiunif unified field of observety that exists. and whether wikileaks does it or not, it would seem inevitable that the forced disclosure of more information is going to happen. am i wrong about that? do you guys think that the corporations and the government are delusional to the point that they think they can actually prevent information from coming out at this point? >> i don't know. i think of government as being pretty powerful and having the about to prevent the outflow of information. >> really? what do you think? >> it is a lot harder now, and i don't think it's inevitable, in any way. i mean, it is all about the economy now. it's all about the financial situation. >> you think what's inevitable? >> that more and more information is going to come out. you look at -- >> what do you think? >> -- at the arab spring and
social networking. >> i think it's inevitable that the information is going to come out, and of course, corporations and governments will try and prevent that, of course. >> gives the free press a fun thing to do. >> the more barriers to entry there are, the more rewards there are for those of us that can crack something. >> the panel stays. straight ahead, "the new york times" reporting a urgency on the european debt crisis. but as rick newman tweeted today, what happened to the old sense of urgency on the european debt crisis? our specialist joins the table, next. e the best toffee in the world. it's delicious. so now we've turned her toffee into a business. my goal was to take an idea and make it happen. i'm janet long and i formed my toffee company through legalzoom.
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places, it's shaping up to be yet another crucial week for the eurozone debt crisis. we're calling it my big fat greek bailout this week. we'll have another name for it next week, i'm sure. the talk now is about more than doubling the size of the bailout for the banks, so think of this again, not just the european banks, but really the western banks have extended a wide variety of credit through a billion different mechanisms to a lot of western europe and then there's a lot of additional speculation on top of that as to who will pay for what, so it's a swaps market, and you have all the gambling on top of it. and instead of $600 billion, they need $1.3 trillion. what's the difference? any bailout is almost certain to be coupled with austerity matters, could be coupled with tax hikes, and could be coupled with debt restructuring. as one greek trader told a business insider, the painful problem of austerity hasn't even hit yet. nobody in europe has any idea what's going on, and social strife, if it seems bad now, will become a daily issue.
today's specialist is yahoo! finance auditor and columnist, daniel gross, who's been warning of the potentially lehman-esque effect of a greek collapse. good to have you back, dan. >> good to be here. >> we've talked to several folks about how this is a situation where maybe if you actually did a marshall plan, some sort of cohesive plan, that this doesn't have to be a bloodbath like lehman brothers. that this could be more orderly. >> well, it's kind of useful to compare what we did here in '08 and '09. there's a lot of criticism of how things went down. basically, the federal reserve came in and said, we will guarantee everything in sight, stop running from the banks, the government said, we'll do some stimulus, and both said to the private sector, we'll keep rates low, but you've got to get your house in order. take some losses, fire people, restructure. >> raise money? >> do what needs to be done, inflict pain on your shareholders, which they continue to do three years later, but a lot of that is now behind us.
the t.a.r.p. money came back, banks are back to doing their thing, in europe, someone needs to do that. you know, guarantee everything. >> isn't that the ecb? >> they are the ones who need to do it. but the problem is then, then get your house in order. because america's companies are pretty ruthless about firing people, shutting down a division, offshoring. europe's government, i mean, italy? they're going to get their house in order? they've got a 75-year-old satire running the show. greece is going to get their house in order? you know, that is the problem. people say the ecb hasn't done what needs to be done. they come in and say, we will guarantee, no one has to worry about anything, we will print as much money as needed, but the thing that has to happen after that is structural reform in these government-run countries to get their house in order. >> that have no history of doing such a thing. >> exactly. >> but part of the problem that has to do with the banks. like one of my complaints about the bailout was that it ended up saving the banks here, rather than just trying to prevent a
disorderly collapse of financing, it made sure that goldman and bank of america and jpmorgan, that they all kept existing. and i know that's some of what's going on here, is that european governments are making sure that european banks and probably american banks are getting paid back by the greek government. so to what stent are the bailout tacks focused on actually saving the banks and not just preventing a disorderly collapse? >> this is motivating the whole thing. the germans will say, yoknow, that the greeks, they have done wrong, and they need to be punished and they have to feel the pain. it's all about angel merkel not having to bail out her own banks. if greece says, you know what, we're all going to pay 40 cents on the dollar, all of a sudden, all these large german banks -- and they pick up the phone, and they call the government. which then has to do a taxpayer bailout for their own domestic banking industry, which is far more unpopular, and that's not politically tenable. >> go ahead, imogen. >> is greek default inevitable? the european leaders seem to be
in denial about this, but economists in general seem to believe that greek default is going to happen. >> i think it's pretty much already happened. i mean, they can't borrow on the private market. they can't go out to the public markets and say, you know, we'd like to borrow a few billion dollars. and the debt that trades, it trades at interest rates that are, you know, that would make a loan shark blush. in other words, the interest rate on the one- and two-year government debt is 70%, 80%. it's like the monty python skit, what we have here is a defaulted bird. >> and the interesting thing, though, when you look at it, sam, there's this political culture of not wanting to acknowledge math. and i feel like we've been watching not just our own politicians, but the world's politicians not want to see what the bond market is saying, which is, look at the greek debt. look at italian debt. look at american deficit spending, et cetera, et cetera.
do you have any sense in your mind, politically, sam, that we're any closer to reconciling our politics with our math? >> well, i'm not sure that the math, and correct me if i'm wrong, but the math in terms of greece and the math in terms of america when we're talking about our debt and deficit is really fundamentally deferent, because we have control of our currency, right? >> we have control of our currency, so we could print money and devalue our currency to make ourselves more competitive, but americans also work. it's a big difference. >> unlike greece? >> greeks have in the constitution, imagine if there was an amendment to the constitution that said, civil servants have lifetime tenure. the structural problems in their domestic economy cannot be solved by a commission or something that cuts spending by 10%. they were allowed by the european central bank and all the people in the euro zone with the leadership of germany to kind of go along for 20 years like this, while this built up. and again, i just go back to, you know, as messed up as you think our policy was and our banks and our political system,
europe's -- >> get a load of this. >> -- is much worse, and greece in particular, is even worse than -- >> but isn't tim's point, which is the decision making is being made to preserve jpmorgan, is being made to preserve deutsche bank, is being made to preserve sock jen, as opposed to saying, we're going to need to restructure this financial system. >> that was done here in '08. that was done in ireland. remember, ireland, their domestic banks got all this debt that they couldn't pay backse, d the irish taxpayers said, we'll take that and make all those private debts public debts. and the irish people are getting the tar kicked out of them. >> i know. with debt cancellation. >> but if what you're saying, and i don't necessarily accept your characterization of the greek people in that way, but if what you're saying -- >> duly noted. >> isn't it really the banks who are at fault here? because their job is to make loans that will not fail in this way. so if you know what you know about the greek people, and
that's the belief system that's been out there, isn't this the failure of the banks? and isn't it their haircut to take? >> well, i think they should be taking, you know, not just a haircut, but a buzz cut. we could do a sort of modeling -- we should get howie mandel's haircut. because the capacity of this country to pay back its debt just isn't there. it's like when msome of these dt coms went belly up and no revenues and the lease payments. the landlords didn't say, you know what, if you can just cut your salaries a little and you can pay us, they didn't say, all right, we'll find another tenant and write off the debt you owe us. >> and that's where you get the political outrage, in a sense of needing to pay the rent on those busted dot coms, which is really paying the rent to the banks who were wildly -- >> and the false dichotomy they always put about the t.a.r.p. in the u.s. was, oh, did you want everything to melt down or did you support the t.a.r.p.? but i say, what if i wanted to make sure we just wind these guys down into bankruptcy and
maybe soften the blow. but we don't have to save them. and so much of this in europe, from my outside perspective, seems like they're saving the banks. >> they are. >> people, as we're talking about them saving us, people forget, we bailed out the european banks by making aig make all its swaps, and by the way, the federal reserve opened the window and said, everybody can come here, including the french and the german and the british. so i think they owe us one or two. >> i'm telling you this, you guys. if the ecb opens up and starts buying every bond in europe, we're going . we're bringing a bunch of bonds. we will go to that window and bring some worthless paper, whatever it is, and get some money from it. >> can we wait until the high season? >> you'll set the travel agenda. it's good to see you. nice to see all of you, in fact. the panel takes off. but next, back to the future.
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♪ >> well, doc and marty don't need to wait around for a bolt of lightning anymore. all that time-traveling duo soon will need to charge their delorean will be a plug. the delorean motor company announced plans to produce built-to-order electric versions of the iconic 1980s car, best known from "back to the future" trilogy. the company currently makes around ten custom cars a year, and the futuristic design makes it the perfect base for an electric car. in the new and improved model, the conventional rear engine will be replaced with an
electric one, batteries in the front to balance the car out. makers expect the final version to offer about 70 miles range on a given charge. so come 2013, all you need to reenact your favorite scenes from "back to the future" is a cool 90 grand. the company hasn't said if that price tag comes with a flux capacitor. and from fun with electric cars to the very serious issue of our energy future. up now on "the huffington post," our latest blog, "how did our oil get under their sand?" fresh off the fall of gadhafi, how we are letting our oil interests shaping our military and foreign policy to this day. and of course, an honest conversation on energy, just one of the debates we are desperate to get. but because of money in politics, we are simply prevent. to that end, more than 225,000 folks have partnered now to create a digital wave to get money out. we continue to get a cascade of interests from all sorts of places, and i suspect there'll
be lots of big news around this over the next couple of months. but you can learn more about it now and tell a friend about the amendment to get money out of politics at getmoneyout.com. if you haven't, spend some time on that website. it's worth familiarizing yourself a little bit, at least, in my humble opinion. next, from street battles in somalia to digital warfare in cyberspace, the best-selling author of "blackhawk down," our guest on the new threat we all face. in america, we believe in a future that is better than today. since 1894, ameriprise financial has been working hard for their clients' futures. never taking a bailout. helping generations achieve dreams. buy homes. put their kids through college. retire how they want to. ameriprise. the strength of america's largest financial planning company. the heart of 10,000 advisors working with you, one-to-one. together, for your future. ♪
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we failed to invest in the security of our digital infrastructure. we saw this in the disorganized response to conficker, the internet worm that in recent months has infected millions of computers around the world. this status quo is no longer acceptable. >> that, our own president, president barack obama, responding to conficker, a 2008 highly encrypted computer worm that our next guest calls the first skirmish of the new digital world war. strains of conficker have inflicted over 12 million personal and business computers thus far, and to date, the only ones able to contain the worm were not the cia or the fbi, but a group of high-tech volunteer geeks. i guess geeks, by definition of their success. his new book, "worm: the first digital world war," mark bowden, you just saw him there, author of "blackhawk down."
explain to me in a way that i'm going to know what you're talking about what the threat is to me as an individual and to us as a nation. >> well, dylan, the worm, in this case, conficker, infects your computer, and essentially turns over control of it to a remote operator. and it also connects your computer to millions of other computers around the world. there's two ways that you can have an enormous amount of computing power. one is to build a supercomputer, and the other is to connect a lot of small computers together into a network, a botnet. something the size of conficker can be used for something as simple as to steal your personal information or it's been used to drain american bank accounts, in some instances. it's also large enough and potentially powerful enough that it could be used to launch an attack that could take down the internet itself. >> to what extent do we even
have information about the level of development in our own government, both to perpetrate cyberwar, and/or defend itself, and to what extent do we have similar information about china or russia or other theoretical adversaries? >> well, we know that we're vulnerable to computer spying and sabotage because it's happened. we know that there are gangs of programmers who are either employed by or indirectly supported by the chinese government, who have stolen information about the joint strike fighters, stealth technology, who have charted our electrical grid coordinates on the internet. we know, for instance, about the worm that was launched to destroy the centrifuges enrichi enriching uranium in iran called
stuxnet. so there's evidence all around of this escalation in cyberwarfare. but because it's very secret, we don't know the particulars of what our government is doing and what others are doing. >> and the key for those getting up to speed on the vocabulary, a worm -- what's the difference between a worm and a virus? >> well, a virus kind of requires you to do something stupid. you have to open an attachment or an e-mail from a source that is contaminated. a worm doesn't require you to do anything. it makes its own way inside your computer. you would never even know it was there. >> and if you were to look at where we are headed, both in terms of data management, communications, and content management, which is the collapse of all these various gatekeepers in the past 100 years to this sort of accumulated cloud of data and content, that then goes over the
top, if you will, or sort of from that position to handhelds, boo your iphone or your android or whatever it might be, as this technology, the worm technology and the sort of warfare technology digitally develops, at the same time, we upload our dependency on the cloud, corporate back end, banking back end, content back end, family pictures, whatever it might be, how much of a risk are we creating by loading our lives on to this cloud? >> well, we're creating an enormous risk. and one of the points i try to make in the book, "worm," is that the internet, which is the infrastructure for all of these things that you've described, was the creation of a kind of utopian spirit in the late 1960s and early 1970s, it was all about freeing information and sharing data freely. until we hardened the network a
little bit more, until we learned to protect information, it turns out there's a great deal of information that both individuals and government and society have a very legitimate interest in keeping private, we have to build those safeguards into either the existing internet or we have to create parallel internets that provide a higher level of security. >> and the interesting dynamic, and prior to the unified field in this level of connectivity, how much harder was it for one person or three people or ten people, some very small group, to inflict significant or asymmetrical damage, just by the decision to do so? >> well, it used to be that if you were to spread widespread havoc in a society, you needed to have a fleet of bombers or fighter jets, or maybe access to plutonium or something like that. nowadays, anyone with the knowledge and a computer can wreak widespread havoc on -- i
mean, if somebody woke up on the wrong side of the bed in eastern europe, who's in control of this conficker botnet, for instance, they could literally wipe out telecommunications in north america for a period of time. so it's a product of our computer age and one that we haven't addressed seriously enough. >> and interestingly, it's the corollary to a given individual on youtube can become a star overnight, in a way that no one ever could, or a given individual could solve a problem on the internet and become a millionaire and a business celebrity very quickly, because of that marketplace. but the corollary to that is one or two bad guys can really screw things up. what do you -- do you have an assessment as to what our risk profile is? in other words, do you look through whether it's financial security, whether it is corporate security, whether it is actual intelligence, nsa, cia, et cetera, have you calibrated or has anybody calibrated our risk profile? >> well, i do think that,
certainly, those with a financial incentive to do so and government agencies who have secrets to protect are getting better, you know, at creating parallel systems that are not really even connected to the internet. that's probably the most secure thing you can do. but if you want to do business with the public, online, which many government agencies, obviously, banks which retailers want to do, you need to be able to exchange data freely on a public internet. and the protections for that are minimal, across the board. anyone with sufficient knowledge can pretty much break into just about any system they want to. >> so if i'm going to lose sleep about this tonight, which thing should i pick to be most concerned about? and i'm not going to lose sleep about it, because i've kind of given that practice up, but if i
were? >> well, i would -- i think what you can do as an individual is you can take the steps that are available to protect your private information, which is as simple as making sure you are up to date with security downloads and whatnot. but the larger problem is not so much individual as it is societal. and i think one of the things i hope to accomplish with this book is just to raise public awareness of the need for addressing basic structural problems in the way we exchange data on the internet. it ought to be more of a political issue. it has become more of a priority, i know, during the obama administration. but until something really drastic happens, i doubt that it will be addressed at really the highest levels. >> yeah. well, if history's any indication, your assessment certainly has good odds. mark bowden, the book, "worm: the first digital world war." thanks for time today, mark. >> you're welcome, dylan. thank you. >> yeah. coming up on "hardball,"
enough already. rick perry trying to russell up support by trying to revive the obama birth certificate issue. first, a student says affirmative action gypped her out of a college spot. kell man: my electric bill was breaking the bank. so to save some money, i trained this team of guinea pigs to row this tiny boat. guinea pig: row...row. they generate electricity, which lets me surf the web all day. guinea pig: row...row. took me 6 months to train each one, 8 months to get the guinea pig: row...row. little chubby one to yell row! guinea pig: row...row. that's kind of strange. guinea pig: row...row. such a simple word... row. anncr: there's an easier way to save. get online. go to geico.com. get a quote. 15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.
well, it is monday, which means it's time for keli's rant, and as such, the floor is yours. >> thanks, dylan. according to "the new york times," a looming legal showdown could mark the end of affirmative action as we know it in higher education. a landmark case involving a student who believes the fact that she is not a racial minority cost her admission of university of texas is likely
headed to the supreme court. let me say this for the record. i don't believe that i should receive an opportunity for a job or admission into an institution of higher learning over someone more qualified due to the color of my skin, and i wouldn't want to. by the same token, i wouldn't want to lose a job or admission to a college or university due to factors equally beyond my control, like my last name or my class status. yet that kind of missed opportunity happens to people like me all of the time. to clarify by "people like me," i mean those of us who were not born wealthy and well-connected. from private s.a.t. tutors to private tutors and violin lessons, all subsidized by the bank of mom and dad, there are countless ways that the privilege begin the college admissions with a head start. when the last bush administration filed a brief declaring the supreme court to declare the university of michigan's admissions process unconstitutional, bush critics didn't know whether to laugh or cry. after all, his own admission
into yale is credited largely to his father and grandfather's attendance, not to his own lackluster economic record. when i find confusing about the academic debate is why people seem to be cheated out of benefits, when the entire system unfairly benefits a group of privileged people that keeps recycling generation after generation. if there is one flaw in affirmative action, it's not that it benefits too many racial minorities, it's that it doesn't benefit enough other people from non-privileged backgrounds. president obama's daughters will have opportunities in their lives that most of us will only dream of. just like both president bush's and president clinton's kids before them, by virtue of their last name and family connections, there are doors that will swing open for them that may be shut to the rest of us, beginning with college admissions. if you believe that the goal of education in this country is to create equal playing field and equal opportunity, than you should have a problem with that. after all, the malia and sasha obamas of the world will ultimately be just fine.
it's the malia washingtons or sasha smiths of the world that we have to worry about. >> this goes to what we were talking about last week, the concept of platinum citizenship, which is an economic status as much as it is anything else. >> right. >> and because we've watched the treasury secretary and george bush before and president obama subsequently sort of codify this platinum standard, where there are certain people who get certain things, in the government, in the banking system, and then everybody else gets porridge, it leaves us with a very interesting sort of problem-solving dynamic. because you do have racism, you do have sexism, you to have all sorts of discrimination, gender bias, or sexual orientation. at the same time, you have this fundamental line that's been drawn on class. >> right. >> which fight do you have first? or do you have all at once? >> the class one unites us all. i think it's starting to surpass a lot of things,